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Breanna Stewart

USA Basketball Women’s National Team Post-Practice Quotes (7/23/16)

  • Date:
    Jul 23, 2016

Los Angeles, California

USA head coach Geno Auriemma (University of Connecticut)
Are you happy that you finally have the team together and can get to work?
Just the opportunity to be around them. They’re such a good group. They consistently work really, really hard. They have such a great amount of respect for each other and they work really hard to make each other look good. It just makes me feel excited to want to coach them and today kind of brought it all back.

Could you feel the energy they had when they walked into the gym?
Oh yeah, you could feel it. We only ran through a couple things and purposely we didn’t want to do a lot, eight of them had a game yesterday. So, I told them I would treat it as if it were the regular season for them this next month, whenever they have a game, this is their routine. Whenever we have a day off, this is their routine. I try to keep it as normal as possible, within reason, knowing that we have a lot of work to do. But, I think their level of excitement and they’re anxious to get going and that’s going to overcome whatever tired legs they might have. So, that’s a good thing.

What are you hoping to get out of these three days in Los Angeles?
If we can just get a framework to work with: this is what we want to do, this is what we want to look like, this is how I want our team to approach things when we’re on offense, this is what I want it to look like when we’re on defense. And within that, just give them the freedom to do what they do best. So it’s not about, ‘here are the 17 things that I want us to do.’ No, here’s a little box, let’s just play in it and you do what you’re good at and we’ll be alright.

Sue Bird (Seattle Storm)
Overall thoughts on the first day of practice:
It was good. All of us are coming from our WNBA teams and the coaching staff is aware of that so today was really about just walking through some stuff. We actually watched some film of the last time we were together in Turkey, so overall I think it was positive.

On Monday’s game against the younger USA Basketball athletes:
It should be fun. They are probably excited. I know it will be a good game. Obviously I know firsthand, particularly Jewell, that the younger players are really talented and ready to take that baton, so it should be a fun night.

On her fourth Olympic appearance:
It’s great. You go through a career and you never know what can happen, so for me, I just feel really lucky and don’t want to take the moment for granted. I’m really excited for this fourth opportunity to participate in the Olympics.

Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever)
On the first day of practice:
First day was great, just really getting out here and getting your mind wrapped around the plays and stuff. We went over a couple of the plays out of bounds – side out of bounds, under out of bounds, that kind of deal, but I think the energy is up. Everybody is kind of ready.

How does it feel to represent your country again?
It always feels good. It’s truly an honor to be able to come out here. It’s a blessing to be able to represent our country and go out there and know that we’re going to come out every single day and prepare and get ready because we don’t have much time.

How will the Select Team help you?
Well, it’s cool. Of course, a couple of my teammates are on the team. But looking at that young talent, and looking at how the USA team is picked and all the different stages that go into it. All of these young players will have an opportunity. They’ve already competed on some type of junior Olympic team, but they’ll have an opportunity to be on the senior team one day. So I think it’s a great matchup. It will be a lot of fun, the older players against a lot of our up and coming talent.

Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky)
How does it feel to represent your country?
It’s amazing. It feels surreal to finally be here. I feel like I’ve been waiting so long for this moment. Now that we’re here together, we’re excited and very focused on gold.

On the first practice:
It was great. It was light because most of us had games last night, so we just kind of put in some plays, did the mind work, and tomorrow we’ll get after it.

How will the Select Team help you?
They’ll be awesome. It’s going to be a great time. Right at the beginning I believe they’re going to help practice with us a little bit. It will be a great scrimmage. Obviously, WNBA players, there is nothing better than going against the best of the best.

Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm)
Overall thoughts on the first day of practice:
I thought today was good to get in, flush out a few things, get some plays under our belt, get acclimated with each other. It wasn’t long but it was worthwhile.

On her mindset with the quick turnaround from the WNBA season to Olympics:
I think I am just excited. Obviously, with the Storm, we played last night and that was the focus, but now just being here with the USA team, shifting gears to that, and with the Olympics coming up, how can you not be excited?

On playing against former UCONN teammates Kiah Stokes and Stef Dolson, and current Storm teammate Jewell Loyd on Monday night:
I think it will be a really cool opportunity to test the waters to see how we’re doing and playing against Jewell and my UCONN teammates, people that I’ve grown up playing with and against.

On playing for Coach Auriemma again:
It’s great. To be able to be back with him, on the same court with him again, I didn’t know it would happen so quickly, but I’m going to enjoy this experience as much as I can.

 

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